Why We Should All Learn to Play Like Abdiel

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“A person’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play."

                  -Frederic Nietsche


Abdiel is a smart, exuberant two-year-old who can turn any object into a toy and any moment into playtime. His play is emotional and has the quick emotional highs and lows resembling the scariest, yet most breathtaking roller coaster ride.  Abdiel can turn any time into playtime, any person into his personal play partner, and every single moment into one that is joyful, astonishing, and filled with waves of laughter and love.

Yet, Abdiel is not your typical two-year-old. The boy’s life has been a constant barrage of doctors, diagnoses and NICU nurses.  Any person who was in a constant cycle of those types of interruptions would not necessarily think of that time as anything other than hard work.

However, Abdiel just calls it playtime.


A Peaceful Morning Routine at RMH-NY

As the sun peeks through the curtains of Ronald McDonald House New York, Yoysi, Miguel, and their spirited 2-year-old son Abdiel rouse from their restful sleep. Alongside the gentle whispers of dawn, the family commences their day within the comforting cocoon of their temporary sanctuary tucked away and hidden from the loud, brash New York City morning rush.

From the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee to the soft patter of Abdiel's footsteps, each moment orchestrates a symphony of familiarity and coziness, a testament to the resilience and affection that binds the family together.

At Ronald McDonald House New York, within the tranquil rituals of morning, this young family’s story unfolds—a journey marked by fortitude, optimism, and the steadfast backing of a community of friends joined together in empathy and commonality of experience.


Meet Abdiel and Family

Yoysi and Miguel, originally from the Dominican Republic, arrived at Ronald McDonald House New York in February 2023, seeking specialized care for their son Abdiel. At just two years old, Abdiel's health journey presented unique challenges, but within the walls of the House, the family found a network of compassion and understanding.

Each day at Ronald McDonald House New York begins with the comforting routines of family breakfasts and moments of laughter with Abdiel. When not attending hospital appointments, Abdiel engages in therapies tailored to his developmental needs, supported by a team of dedicated specialists. Amidst the uncertainty of medical procedures, Yoysi and Miguel draw strength from the supportive environment of the House, where their son's well-being is the top priority.


Quotes on Play #2

“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.”

--Lucia Capocchione


The Medical Factor

On the night that Yoysi and Miguel arrived at Ronald McDonald House New York, they barely recall their initial memories.  It’s most likely because they were barely there. Within 24 hours of arrival in NYC, Abdiel’s family got a call of a possible donor for Abdiel.

The tiny boy, not even one year old at that point, desperately needed a new liver and that was the sole purpose for the family’s journey to NYC.

Beyond the need for a new liver, Yoysi and Miguel’s memories of their son’s first year of life are mainly images of the insides of hospitals and doctor visits; doing anything and everything that they have needed to do to keep their sweet Abdiel safe and healthy.

Since coming to Ronald McDonald House New York, those memories have received a slight adjustment during Abdiel’s second year of life. Nothing represents the positive change in the family’s day-to-day than comparing Abdiel’s birthday memories year over year.


Birthday Priorities

Abdiel’s first birthday was marked by hospital waiting rooms and updates from night nurses in the NICU, but the tune changed when the family celebrated Abdiel turning two.

One of the most memorable occasions from the family’s stay was Abdiel's second birthday celebration hosted at Ronald McDonald House New York. It was a joyous event filled with love and gratitude, as the House provided not just a venue for the festivities, but also assistance with decorations and logistics, and tons of chocolate.  For Yoysi and Miguel, it was a chance to create cherished memories, contrasting the challenging times spent in hospital rooms.

In 2023, Ronald McDonald House New York celebrated 20 birthdays for kids staying at the House on 73rdstreet. Here we want to make sure each child has the memorable celebration they deserve, despite being far from home, their family, and friends.



Abdiel Means…

Reflecting on the significance behind Abdiel's name, Yoysi and Miguel share how they chose "Abdiel" as a symbol of faith and service to God. In a way, Abdiel's name encapsulates the family's determination to overcome adversity and find purpose in their journey.


Quotes about Play #3

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

- Plato


Playtime with Abdiel

Abdiel has a knack for turning mundane tasks like mopping, moving furniture, or taking out the trash into delightful playtime adventures. When observing Abdiel, one must disregard the usual context and see things through his imaginative lens. For instance, instead of simply discarding a paper towel, Abdiel transforms it into a makeshift creature on a quest to find its home in the trash can.

His creativity knows no bounds; he could write the manual on making even the most tedious chores entertaining. This is evident in his constant demand for the Swiffer and his penchant for pushing a step stool around, using it not for its intended purpose but as a prop in his playful escapades. Abdiel's joy is infectious, whether he's engaging in a basic four-meter-long jog or admiring the azure skies, eagerly pointing them out to anyone who will listen.

Regardless of the moment, Abdiel infuses his day with a sense of wonder and delight, unencumbered by fear or haste. He finds solace in the loving embrace of his parents, who are devoted to preserving the radiance of his smile. Even in the face of adversity, Abdiel chooses laughter and play, a testament to his indomitable spirit and zest for life.


Embracing the Spirit of Play

Perhaps, in our own lives, we can take a cue from Abdiel's playbook and approach each day with a childlike sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. After all, as Abdiel demonstrates, even the simplest of tasks can become a source of joy and wonder if we allow ourselves to embrace the spirit of play.


Quotes on Play #4

“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche


RMH-NY’s Community of Understanding

Their stay at Ronald McDonald House New York has been transformative, as they've been embraced by a community that understands their struggles and offers constant support. Whether it's through therapy sessions for Abdiel or wellness programs for caregivers like mom and dad, the House provides a holistic approach to healing, addressing both physical and emotional needs.

For Yoysi and Miguel, Ronald McDonald House New York is more than just a temporary residence—it's a lifeline of support and has played an instrumental part in their family’s stay.  As they navigate the complexities of their son's health journey, they find peace in knowing they're not alone. They have found friends they will know forever. Within the walls of the House, they've uncovered a network of compassion and understanding, where families like theirs can lean on each other providing much needed strength and encouragement.

Abdiel's journey, alongside his mom and dad, is a symbol of the ultimate courage found among families facing medical challenges and the hope that can be found when a choice is made to turn the tough times into playtimes.

His experience underscores the powerful influence of community and the deep feeling of acceptance discovered at Ronald McDonald House New York. As they progress on their path, Yoysi, Miguel, and Abdiel express gratitude for the kindness and understanding enveloping them, recognizing that at Ronald McDonald House New York, they've discovered a true home.


Quotes on Play #5

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.”

                                 -George Bernard Shaw



Thank you, Abdiel, for teaching those you meet that anytime is good for playtime.

Help more families like Abdiel's. Donate Today. 

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